Google recently announced their decision to move forward with Google+ Local pages, which will take the place of their current option, Google Places. To ensure that local businesses do not suffer from the change and that the transition is smooth, we want to explain how this shift will affect local SEO efforts.
Here are some descriptions of the types of page that were available for promoting your business through Google, prior to the change.
- A Google places page, which has a directory style format and displays your basic business information, pictures, and reviews as an element of the “Places” listings. These pages were not included in conventional SERPs.
- A Google+ Page was an individual web property that can be set up in the Google+ social network. Many business used “Local Business or Place” class, Google+ pages are for different classes that include “Product or Brand,” “Company, Institution or Organization,” and “Arts, Entertainment or Sports”.
The newest version of Google+ Local pages will only affect the first page mentioned above, by replacing the former Google Places listings. This means you can take advantage of both a Google+ Local page and a Google+ Page.
Effect of Google+ Local pages on SEO:
The following changes have occurred due to transition of Google Places/Google+ Local pages.
- Google Places pages have changed into Google+ Local pages.
- A “Local”tag has been added to Google+, in order to provide users with different/social suggestions for particular Google+ Local pages.
- Zagat review data has changed Google’s previous method, and the site’s previous pay wall has been eradicated.
- Google+ Local pages are being incorporated to Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Mobile.
Another possible impact on local SEO efforts is the influence the change could have on your pages social functionality. Basically, the social benefits available to local businesses through the Google+ network are only available to Google+ Pages.
In short, despite some small impact, the changes to Google+ Local pages should not have a dramatic effect on the SERPs. The existence or lack of Google+ Local pages should not make a big difference to rankings. Looking at the results prior to the change, and the results for the same organizations afterwards, they appear to be almost exactly the same.
What Should You Know If You Already Have A Proved Google Places page?
According to Google, if you previously had a confirmed Google Places page, you’ll need to keep up with the maintenance of this page in the Google Places for Business control panel.
You will still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. Individuals who use AdWords Express, your ads will act normally as they will forward people to the objective you elected on current listings.
If you already have a succesful Google+ Page for your business, you’ll have to maintain this page individually until Google provides the opportunity to change to a Google+ Page.